Eastern hemlock

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Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis); Credit: Bruce Morton
Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)


A hemlock tree, Tsuga canadensis, native to eastern North America, ranging from Alabama to New England and west to Wisconsin. Eastern hemlock trees generally grow to 31 with trunk diameters of 1.8 m. It typically has a straight trunk with horizontal branches that droop to the ground. It is the state tree of Pennsylvania. The softwood tree produces coarse-grained wood that is strong, lightweight, and splinters easily. It is used primarily for paper pulp, but also for boxes, crates and railroad ties. Tannins extracted from the bark are used to make leather. The Eatern Hemlock is the state tree for Pennsylvannia. The tree is killed by a non-native insect (hemlock woolly adelgid)

See also Hemlock bark.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Tsuga canadensis; Tsuga mertensiana (19th c.); sapinette noire (Fr.); sapinette du Canada (Fr.); Canada hemlock; Canadian hemlock; American hemlock; hemlock spruce


  • May cause skin irritation

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Color: heartwood is reddish brown; sapwood is slightly lighter
  • Grain/Texture: Straight grain with coarse uneven texture
  • Durability: non-resistant to decay; susceptible to insect attack.
  • Density = 28 pcf
  • Odor: not distinctive

Working Properties

  • Tends to splinter easily and plane poorly.
  • Because of the disparity between the soft earlywood and the hard latewood, sanding can create dips and uneven surfaces.
  • Glues, stains, and finishes well.

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 394
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • External source or communication Comment: Northern Hemlock and Hardwood Manufacturuers Association, Oshkosh, Wis.: air-dry weight = 28 pcf
  • Gordon Hanlon, contributed information, 1998
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997